How to Create Rock Stars

Grooming Content Stewards

Before you launch, you need to make sure your Content Stewards are trained.  Unless you have a large team, dedicated to managing your corporate intranet, it is important that your Content Stewards are “Power Users”, capable of managing their slice of your Corporate Intranet.  What may be even more important is that these Content Stewards know and understand your Governance Policy and Taxonomy Policy in great detail.   After all, these will be your champions of governance.  Their diligence will make or break you in the area of metadata and taxonomy success.

Who should be Content Stewards?

If you are de-centralizing portal management at the Departmental level (or maybe geographically), then it’s important to find individuals who fit the following criteria:

  1. They are enthusiastic about the new portal.
  2. They are responsible and trustworthy (noted for their high quality work).
  3. They are (at least slightly) technically savvy.
  4. It helps, politically, if they are a Manager, Team Lead, etc.

Publish an announcement, send out a memo, contact your friends at work.  Do whatever you need to do, but find these people quickly and recruit them!

What should you teach them?

Now that you’ve got your team of future rock stars, you need to give them the “chops” to make it big.

Content Steward Responsibilities – Discuss with this group what their responsibilities will be.  They will be site owners, first-line support, content managers/approvers, list and library creators, etc.  Let them know what they willb e doing and make sure they are on-board.

GovernanceWhat is governance?  What is the role of the Content Steward?  It’s simple:

  1. Know the policy (the rules).
  2. Enforce the policy.
  3. Be consistent and predictable.

TaxonomyWhat is Taxonomy? Again, what is the role of the Content Steward?  Same as above.

  1. Know the policy.
  2. Enforce the policy.
  3. Be consistent and predictable.

SharePoint 101 – Make sure your Content Stewards are comfortable operating within the SharePoint environment.  Here are some great references for starters:

Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007 Introduction Quick Reference Guide.

Teach Yourself SharePoint 2007 in 24 hours.

Teach Yourself SharePoint Foundation 2010 in 24 Hours.

Basics of Site Management – (Covered in the reference materials just above this sentence).  This should include, at a minimum:

  • How to add permissions
  • How to provision a site
  • How to create custom lists, libraries, etc.
  • How to recover files from the recycle bin

Content Stewards make your life easier:

They do this by taking some of the workload off of your plate (delegation).  If time is a factor, just cover the basics (enough to make sure you don’t get overloaded with all of those remedial phone calls).   Offload those repetitive duties to the content stewards.  If you have to, start of small and introduce a new topic each week/month/quarter.   This way they can be “comfortable” with one skill before they learn the next.

How do you follow up?

Once everyone is trained, start off by having weekly meetings to sync up, gather feedback and share ideas/tips amongst the Content Steward team.  Try to build a sense of community.  When momentum starts to pick up and the Team becomes self-sufficient, move these meetings to monthly or quarterly.

Additionally, host Monthly or quarterly content reviews.  Get together with the teams (or individual Content Stewards few at a time) and go through their sites with them.  Have a checklist of things to keep up with and see how they are being managed on a regular basis.

Here’s a brief checklist example:

Check Site Permissions

  1. Try to manage group permissions, rather than individuals
  2. Make sure that the access list is not “stale”.  Users that are listed should be valid and relevant

Check Content Layout

  1. Make sure that your site templates and rules regarding layouts are upheld.
  2. Make sure that your web part standards are being upheld.


  1. Make sure that users aren’t creating too many sites that are not needed.
  2. Make sure that the sites that are needed have managed quotas.

Data Relevance

  1. Make sure content and relevant data is easily located.
  2. Make sure old data is archived or organized such that it’s not interfering with productivity.

There’s a lot more you can check on, but these are good starter habits.

As the Content Stewards gain more experience, you can introduce monthly / quarterly “refresher” training as part of your meeting agenda.  Introduce new topics and more advanced topics as your team gets more familiar with their duties.

Who knows?  They just may catch on well enough to work with you as a SharePoint Admin one day!  You’re creating Career Opportunities within!

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